NAIROBI – Kenya will become the first African country to recognize its inters.e.x population in a census that counts people born with a s.e.xual anatomy that does not fit typical definitions for male or female bodies, according to a top official.
The census will help end stigma and recognize the rights of inters.e.x people who face challenges in accessing healthcare and education, said Kenya’s Senator for Persons with Disabilities Isaac Mwaura.
“We have no numbers yet we know this is a highly stigmatised issue. It is very germane that inters.e.x persons are going to be counted for the first time in this country,” Mwaura said
As many as 1.7 percent of all children are born inters.e.x with reproductive organs, genitals, hormones or chromosomes that do not fit the usual expectations of male and female, according to the United Nations.
In Kenya, parents often rush to have surgery performed on their children at a young age to avoid ridicule. Many inters.e.x adults say their lives have been scarred by such operations.
Mwaura is pushing for a law that would allow inters.e.x Kenyans to change their sex on their national ID cards and to include ‘inters.e.x’ on birth and death certificates.
“We want to deconstruct that mindset where people have been really fixated around the binary separation between a male and a female,” said Mwaura, who is also patron of the Inters.e.x Persons Society of Kenya.
Mwaura said he expected opposition to the bill because many lawmakers associate inters.e.x people with homos.e.xuality which is outlawed in the East African nation of almost 50 million people.
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